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UEFA Europa League Match-day One Preview - From Group A To Group F

September 16, 2010 By Angela Asante
Twelve groups, 48 teams, and 24 matches… Thursday night will be filled with UEFA Europa League action and we analyze each table. Firstly, from Group A to Group F...
Group A: Juventus vs Lech Poznan; Salzburg vs Manchester City

These are two of the twenty-four fixtures that we captivate the public’s attention on Thursday. Group A is actually particularly interesting since the Old Lady and the Sky Blues are both expected to avoid upsets and eventually reach the next phase of the UEFA Europa League.

On paper, the Sky Blues should go past Salzburg with ease, though. However, football keeps proving that names and money don’t buy success overnight. Having spent astronomical sums of money during the just-end transfer window, Manchester City’s targets this season are high.

But results in the English Premier League explain that they still need to gel as a team and grow in the spirit of champions. Based on Manchester City’s current inefficient form, Salzburg possess an enormous opportunity of take at least a point of the encounter.

Besides, the Austrians will benefit of the home advantage. Juventus arguably start their campaign with an easier match than Manchester City. The Italians have much more experience in Europe than the Sky Blues while Lech Poznan analytically don’t seem to own a lot of potential to down the Old Lady in Turin.

Prediction: Group A could take shape as early as at the end of match-day one. Mistakes could see Manchester City drop points away to Salzburg, but Juventus are definitely poised to top the table by defeating Lech Poznan at the Stadio Olimpico.

No upsets should see both Juve and City come out of their respective meeting with all three points, though: 3-0 Juventus, 2-1 Manchester City.


Group B: Aris vs Atletico Madrid; Bayer Leverkusen vs Rosenborg

Here come the UEFA Europa League reigning champions, Atletico Madrid! Will Aris get in their way? Will they exploit the mental state of Atletico who may already be thinking about this weekend’s La Liga clash against Barcelona? The mission for the Europa League champions is to keep walking on the path that led them to triumph over Inter Milan in the Super Cup.

However, the Greeks are poised to record something different from Panathinaikos’ 5-1 loss to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. One fact: Aris are unbeaten at home in Europe so Real Madrid's city rivals will need to watch out for a real battle in Greece.

Likewise, differences between Bayern Leverkusen and Rosenborg may not be that big on the pitch, although the Germans should find a way out to come on top of the Norwegians.

Prediction: Aris 1-2 Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Rosenborg.


Group C: Lille vs Sporting; Levski Sofia vs Gent

It’s definitely not the most exciting group of the UEFA Europa League. In theory, three out of the table’s four teams have better opportunities of making it into the next stage of the competition.

They are Lille, Sporting, and Gent. However, it’s certainly too early to speculate about Group C’s standings. All four teams will prefer to concentrate on their UEFA Europa League campaign match by match. In France, Sporting will provide host Lille with a tough encounter as both teams have a decent chance of clinching all three points on the first match-day.

In Bulgaria, Levski Sofia will have to overturn their awful home record in Europe against a Gent team that are yet to end their poor away run. Actually, the home and away factor might play a great part in Group C where Lille and Sporting remain the favorites to progress.

Prediction: Gent will defeat Levski 2-0 whereas Lille will deny Sporting from clinching their first ever victory in France; 3-1 to the French.


Group D: Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal; Club Brugge vs PAOK

Villarreal are most likely to improve in what will be their second successive UEFA Europa League campaign. Dinamo Zagreb may present a lot challenges against the Yellow Submarines, but the Spanish factor could once again deny Dinamo Zagreb from getting the right result on Thursday night.

Generally speaking, Villarreal shouldn’t struggle that much in Group D where PAOK and Club Brugge look ready to tighten things up. Talking about these two clubs, they will be in action in the section’s other match. If the Belgian side can keep its clean sheet record against Greek opposition on Thursday, they could be in for a great run in Group D.

Prediction: Villarreal will bring sorrow on Dinamo with a two-goal margin win whereas Club Brugge and PAOK could settle for a decent 0-0 draw.


Group E: AZ Alkmaar vs Sheriff; Dynamo Kyiv vs BATE

Only time may shape Group E; Dynamo Kyiv, Sheriff, and BATE all seem to have fair opportunities of vying against each other. However, AZ Alkmaar look to have the upper hand as the table’s favorites. As they commence their UEFA Europa League campaign with a home match against Sheriff, the Dutch are expected to pick a good result.

But Alkmaar no longer possess their undefeated run at home in Europe, so starting off strongly against Sheriff at the AZ Stadion could signal much better things ahead. Dynamo Kyiv and BATE look like early serious contenders. However, it’s the outcome of Thursday’s match that will give more indication on which team stands the best chance of dominating in Group E.

Prediction: AZ Alkmaar should win comfortably in Holland while Dynamo Kyiv and BATE could play out a draw.


Group F: Lausanne-Sport vs CSKA Moscow; Sparta Praha vs Palermo

This is the kind of group where any team could make a positive impact. That being said, each game will prove to be extremely important. Lausanne will feel that they have an advantage since they have quite a good record against Russian teams.

If they could defeat Torpedo Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow over the past, they’ll think it’s eventually obvious to be confident ahead of Thursday’s fixture CSKA besides the fact that Lausanne will play on home soil.

Either way, the competition in Group F may be harder than one could imagine. Palermo add some Italian flavor to the battle in Group F – something which Sparta Praha will hope to deal against successfully on Thursday night.

Prediction: Lausanne-Sport will edge 2-1 past CSKA whereas Palermo will fail to overcome Sparta as both teams will draw.

 

 


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Uruguay 0 - 2 France
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